Introduction—Birth and birth-place—Horoscope of her nativity—Condition in life of her father—Her account of her early days—Becomes an orange-girl at the theatre—Effects of the Restoration—Revival of the stage—Two theatres allowed—Scenery and dresses—Principal actors and actresses—Duties and importance of the orange-girls
Pepys introduces us to Nelly—Character of Pepys—Nelly at the Duke's Theatre—Who was Duncan?—Nell's parts as Lady Wealthy, Enanthe, and Florimel—Charles Hart—Nell's lodgings in Drury Lane—Description of Drury Lane in the reign of Charles II.—The May-pole in the Strand—Nell and Lord Buckhurst—Position in society of actors and actresses—Character of Lord Buckhurst—Nelly at Epsom
Epsom in the reign of Charles II.—England in 1667—Nelly resumes her engagement at the King's Theatre—Inferior in Tragedy to Comedy—Plays Mirida in "All Mistaken"—Miss Davis of the Duke's Theatre—Her song, "My lodging it is on the Cold Ground," parodied by Nell—Influence of the Duke of Buckingham in controlling the predilections of the King—Charles II. at the Duke's Theatre—Nelly has leading parts in three of Dryden's new Plays—Buckhurst is made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, promised a peerage, and sent on a sleeveless errand into France—Nell becomes the Mistress of the King—Plays Almahide in "The Conquest of Granada"—The King more than ever enamoured—Parallel case of Perdita Robinson and George IV.
Birth of the Duke of St. Alban's—Arrival of Mademoiselle de Querouaille—Death of the Duchess of Orleans—Nelly's house in Pall Mall—Countess of Castlemaine created Duchess of Cleveland—Sir John Birkenhead,
Sir John Coventry, and the Actresses at the two Houses—Insolence of Dramatists and Actors—Evelyn overhears a conversation between Nelly and the King—The Protestant and Popish Mistresses—Story of the Service of Plate—Printed, Dialogues illustrative of the rivalry of Nelly and the Duchess of Portsmouth—Madame Sevigné's account of it—Story of the Smock—Nelly in mourning for the Cham of Tartary—Story of the two Fowls—Portsmouth's opinion of Nelly—Concert at Nell's house—The Queen and la Belle Stuart at a Fair disguised as Country Girls—Births, Marriages, and Creations—Nelly's disappointment—Her witty Remark to the King—Her son created Earl of Burford, and betrothed to the daughter and heiress of Vere, Earl of Oxford
Houses in which Nelly is said to have lived—Burford House, Windsor, one of the few genuine—Her losses at basset—Court paid to Nelly by the Duke of Monmouth, Lord Cavendish, &c.—Death of her mother—Printed elegy on her death—Nelly's household expenses—Bills for her chair and bed—Death of Mrs. Roberts—Foundation of Chelsea Hospital—Nelly connected with its origin—Books dedicated to Nelly—Death of her second son—The Earl Burford created Duke of St. Alban's—Nelly's only letter—Ken and Nelly at Winchester—Nelly at Avington—Death of the King—Was the King poisoned?—Nelly to have been created Countess of Greenwich if the King had lived
Nelly in real mourning, and outlawed for debt—Death of Otway, tutor to her son—James II. pays her debts—The King's kindness occasions a groundless rumour that she has gone to mass—Her intimacy with Dr. Tenison, then Vicar of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and Dr. Lower the celebrated physician—She sends for Tenison in her last illness—Her death and contrite end—Her will and last request of her son—Her funeral—Tenison preaches her funeral sermon—False account of the sermon cried by hawkers in the streets—The sermon used as an argument against Tenison's promotion to the see of Lincoln—Queen Mary's defence of him and of Nelly—Her son the Duke of St. Alban's—Eleanor Gwyn and Harriet Mellon—Various portraits of Nelly—Further anecdotes—Conclusion